One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. - Sophocles
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 102, Part II, 27 May 1996


This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and
Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central
Asia, is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of
the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

POLISH UNION LEADER SUMMONED BY BELARUSIAN COURT. A Belarusian court has
summoned Solidarity President Marian Krzaklewski to appear in court on
30 May for organizing an illegal demonstration in the capital earlier
this month. Krzaklewski, who had been invited to Minsk by Belarusian
independent trade unions, said he would not appear in court and would
prefer to summon the Belarusian authorities for detaining and illegally
deporting him and three other Solidarity members. The Polish Embassy in
Minsk was notified about the case but will return the court summons
because "it is not customary" for the embassy to deliver such documents.
Krzaklewski said that if he were to go to Belarus to appear in court, it
would mean that he believed that the law is "functioning there according
to European norms and Belarusian constitution. And that is not true,"
Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 27 May. -- Jakub Karpinski

UKRAINIAN PREMIER ON BASING OF RUSSIAN FLEET. Yevhen Marchuk, during a
visit to Sevastopol on 24 May, said Ukraine will agree to allow the
Russian Black Sea Fleet to maintain its main base in the Crimean port
temporarily and under certain conditions, Ukrainian and Russian media
reported. But while he did not specify what those conditions are, he
noted that Sevastopol is Ukrainian territory but should be considered "a
city of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian glory." Meanwhile, Ukrainian
leaders gave permission for festivities to take place in Sevastopol
marking the 300th anniversary of the Russian navy, ITAR-TASS reported on
23 May. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT PASSES 1996 BUDGET. Crimean lawmakers have approved a
budget for this year totaling 62 trillion karbovantsi ($335 million),
UNIAN reported on 23 May. The new budget allocates 4.2 trillion
karbovantsi ($22 million) for the resettlement of Crimean Tatars and
other deported peoples on the peninsula. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

NEW PARTY IN ESTONIA. Former members of the Center Party have set up the
Development Party, BNS reported. At the founding congress in Tallinn on
25 May. Andra Veidemann, who headed the Center Party from November 1995
to April 1996, was elected the new party's chief by an overwhelming
majority. The party has 174 members, including the seven deputies of the
Liberal Centrist caucus. One of the latter, Tiit Made, said that
"compared with the Center Party, the Development Party leans much more
to the right." He added that the new party will primarily appeal to
businessmen, the intelligentsia, and students. Made also commented that
the party would like to join the government coalition, but Reform Party
Chairman Siim Kallas noted that since all the ministerial posts were
filled, there would be no room for the new party. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN PRESIDENT'S TRIP TO UZBEKISTAN. Guntis Ulmanis, returning to
Latvia from Tashkent on 24 May, said he and Uzbek President Islam
Karimov had agreed that the demise of communism is uniting their
countries in their relations with Russia, BNS reported the next day. The
presidents signed a joint political declaration and a protocol ratifying
a cooperation and friendship agreement. The interior ministers signed
agreements on cooperation in curbing organized crime, while the foreign
ministers signed accords on the protection of investments, international
motor transport, cooperation in railway transport and communications,
mutual assistance in customs services, and cooperation in the sphere of
culture. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA, SWEDEN SIGN DOCUMENT ON VISA-FREE TRAVEL. Lithuanian Foreign
Ministry official Darius Jurgelevicius, heading a delegation to
Stockholm, has signed a protocol paving the way for a visa-free travel
treaty with Sweden, BNS reported on 24 May. Sweden's main condition for
signing the treaty is that Lithuania join the 1951 UN Geneva Convention
and its protocols on refugees. Jurgelevicius said Lithuania has no
objections to comply with Sweden's demand. He added that joining the
convention "can be in principle quick." -- Saulius Girnius

CZECH PREMIER ON SUDETEN GERMAN DEMANDS. Vaclav Klaus has responded
angrily to statements made by Theo Waigel, German finance minister and
chairman of the Bavarian Christian Social Union, at the 47th Congress of
Sudeten Germans in Nuremberg. Waigel noted that the expulsion of some 3
million Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II needs to be
recognized as an "injustice." He added that those laws and presidential
decrees that made the expulsion possible also have to be dealt with.
Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber made similar comments at the congress.
Klaus said he "was very upset" by Waigel's statements. "We don't need
Mr. Waigel to teach us about [our] legal system. When it comes to World
War II, Germans should only whisper.... I am all the more upset
[because] Mr. Waigel's statements come one week before our parliamentary
elections," Czech media reported. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK DOCTORS DEMAND HIGHER WAGES. Some 500 doctors and 1,000
supporters attended a rally organized by the Slovak Medical Board (SLK)
in Bratislava on 25 May to protest low wages, Slovak media reported. SLK
President Ladislav Knapec complained that a petition for a 200% wage
increase signed by more than 6,500 doctors had not drawn a response from
the competent authorities. Average monthly wages for doctors in 1995
reached only 6,251 crowns ($200). Responding to the newly formed Medical
Trade Union Association's vow to begin strong protest action, Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar told Slovak Radio that if "some radicals" do
not like the Health Minister's program, "they have the right to protest.
However, they cannot expect that the world will begin to revolve around
them because they will shout more than the decent [ones] who work every
day...." The opposition Democratic Union has expressed support for the
doctors. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ACCUSES PRESIDENT. Speaking on Slovak Radio on 24
May, Meciar accused President Michal Kovac of involvement in the fraud
case of the Slovak firm Technopol. "Currently, the Technopol case and
the so-called kidnapping [of Michal Kovac Jr.] are being investigated
simultaneously and a direct connection [between the two cases] is being
proven. If he did not have presidential immunity, the man who decides on
granting pardons in the Technopol case would most probably be accused of
being one of the participants in this case," Meciar stated. Referring to
Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) deputy Ladislav Pittner's
independent commission established to investigate the Kovac Jr.
kidnapping, Meciar accused the KDH of building "an informer-police
structure." He added that he will investigate the group's legality. In
other news, Justice Minister Jozef Liscak, attending an Association of
Workers of Slovakia meeting on 25 May, warned that Slovakia is facing
the danger that "in southern Slovakia anyone can announce autonomy at
any time." -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY, ROMANIA TO CONTINUE TALKS IN JUNE. Hungarian Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs on 25 May announced that Hungary and Romania will resume
talks on the bilateral treaty in the second half of June, Reuters
reported. The announcement came one day after Kovacs met with his
Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melescanu, in Salzburg where they were
taking part in the European Artistic Forum. Treaty negotiations have
been stalled since mid-1995, mainly over rights for Romania's Hungarian
minority. Signing the treaty is seen as a key step in both countries'
efforts toward NATO and EU membership. In other news, MTI on 24 May
reported that the Hungarian, Slovak, and Austrian premiers are to
expected meet in Slovakia in mid-June. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MASSIVE IRREGULARITIES, VIOLENCE DURING ALBANIAN ELECTIONS. One day
before Albanians went to the polls to elect a new government, a "large
number of Socialists," including former Prime Minister Ylli Bufi, were
arrested, Albanian media reported on 25 May. The secret police (SHIK)
reportedly beat up members of the Socialist Party. Deputy Interior
Minister Agim Shehu claimed that the Socialists had created an illegal
"paramilitary force" and had reprinted and distributed ballot forms
among voters. Socialist leader Servet Pellumbi, however, said the
arrests were a pretext to interfere in the elections. He added that in a
radio address, a member of the election commission had asked voters to
photocopy election forms to ensure sufficient supplies. More arrests,
beatings, and intimidations were reported from all over the country late
in the evening of 26 May. Members of election commissions and
parliamentary candidates of opposition parties were reportedly the
target of those attacks. -- Fabian Schmidt in Tirana

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CHALLENGES LEGITIMACY OF BALLOT. Many opposition
election commission members left the polling stations saying they had
been intimidated with guns or beaten up by SHIK officers. The
Socialists, the Social Democrats, the Democratic Alliance, the Party of
the Democratic Right, the Agrarian Party, the Party of National Unity
and the Party for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms all declared
that they would withdraw their representatives from the electoral
commissions. They also called on the Constitutional Court to declare the
ballot invalid, saying they would not take part in any government formed
on the basis of these elections. Democratic Alliance leader Neritan Ceka
accused Europe of giving "blind support" to President Sali Berisha,
adding that only the U.S. could ensure democratic elections. Meanwhile,
Berisha said on Albanian TV that he expected the Democrats to win some
70% of the vote. -- Fabian Schmidt in Tirana

THREE ALBANIAN COMMUNIST-ERA OFFICIALS SENTENCED TO DEATH. Former Deputy
Interior Minister Zylyftar Ramizi, former Prosecutor-General Rrapi Mino,
and former head of the Supreme Court Aranit Cela were sentenced to death
on 24 May, Albanian media reported. Former parliamentary president Haxhi
Lleshi and ex-Deputy Prime Minister Manush Myftiu, who were both
partisans during World War II, also received life sentences. The five
were charged with crimes against humanity, including sending thousands
of dissidents and their families into internal exile. Lleshi and Myftiu
had been under house arrest due to bad health but are now in a prison
hospital. Before Albania's admission to the Council of Europe in June
1995, parliamentary speaker Pjeter Arbnori had said his country was
committed to abolishing capital punishment and would not carry out death
sentences following its admission. -- Fabian Schmidt in Tirana

FORMER TSAR ARRIVES IN BULGARIA . . . Simeon II on 25 May arrived in
Sofia on his first visit to Bulgaria since he was forced into exile in
1946, Bulgarian and international media reported. He met with Sofia
Mayor Stefan Sofiyanski and the following day with President Zhelyu
Zhelev. Reuters reported as many as 500,000 people turned out to welcome
Simeon when he toured Sofia's Orthodox churches on 26 May. Simeon is
expected to stay in Bulgaria for three weeks or so. Recent opinion polls
suggest that while less than 20% of Bulgarians want the monarchy
restored, some 40% want Simeon to assume an important political role.
The former monarch said he will disclose his future plans after touring
the country. -- Stefan Krause

. . . AND RECEIVES MIXED RECEPTION FROM POLITICIANS. While Zhelev and
opposition leaders met with Simeon, members of the ruling Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP) sought to avoid contact with the former monarch.
The government considers his visit "a private affair," while Prime
Minister Zhan Videnov has said he will not meet with Simeon because he
has "much more important work" to do. State media journalists have been
told not to give extensive coverage to the visit or to interview Simeon.
Velko Valkanov, a deputy elected on the BSP ticket, called the visit "a
huge mistake" that will involve Simeon in domestic policy. Anastasiya
Dimitrova-Mozer of the People's Union said the visit deflects attention
from real issues and will further divide the country. -- Stefan Krause

SERBS BLOCK REFUGEES, CONTINUE ETHNIC CLEANSING. In what has become a
familiar ritual, 44 Muslim and Croatian refugees attempting to enter
Bosnian Serb territory were blocked by 250 Serbian civilians wielding
sticks and stones, AFP reported on 26 May. An IFOR bus was also severely
damaged, Oslobodjenje stated. The incident took place near Prijedor,
which the refugees wanted to visit in order to plant a "peace tree" at
the site of a former concentration camp. Serbian police supported the
civilians, while IFOR limited itself to "extracting" the refugees and
the IFOR vehicle from the tangle. Meanwhile in Teslic, in north-central
Bosnia, the authorities continue to expel local Muslim civilians to make
room for Serbian refugees from Sarajevo, the BBC noted. The Dayton
accord guarantees freedom of movement, the right of refugees to go home,
and the right to live where one chooses. -- Patrick Moore

WILL KARADZIC DISAPPEAR FROM PUBLIC VIEW? Bosnian Serb Vice President
Nikola Koljevic, speaking on Serbia's Kragujevac Radio on 26 May, said
Bosnian Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic will keep a low profile
from now on and "effectively disappear" from public view, Reuters
reported. But the news agency noted that Koljevic, who is regarded as
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's ally, stopped short of suggesting
that Karadzic will relinquish political authority. Koljevic's statement
has not been confirmed by the state-run Bosnian Serb media, leading to
speculation that he has floated a trial balloon on Milosevic's behalf.
Bosnian Ambassador to the UN Muhamed Sacirbey has noted that any
scenario allowing Karadzic to trade keeping out of the public view in
exchange for avoiding prosecution for war crimes is out of the question.
-- Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN PREMIER ON INDEPENDENCE. Milo Djukanovic on 26 May said most
people living in the rump Yugoslav republic would not endorse any moves
that might lead to Montenegrin independence. Tanjug reported Djukanovic
as saying that no more than 15-17% of voters would vote for the
"independence option" in elections likely to take place before year's
end. Djukanovic, who in the past has publicly expressed his differences
with the federal authorities in Belgrade, added that "our...interest
lies inside the [rump] Yugoslavia, despite some objective or temporary
differences." -- Stan Markotich

TUDJMAN ON CROATIA'S INTERNATIONAL STATUS. Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman, addressing the Presidential Council on 25 May, said the Council
of Europe's decision to delay Croatia's admission was punishment for its
refusal to be included in the Balkan integration process, Hina reported.
Tudjman criticized the "humiliating conditions" that the Council of
Europe has laid down for Croatia, while admitting countries such as
Russia. He stressed that Croatia will not agree to those conditions,
which include more press freedom, creating conditions for the return of
Serbian refugees, cooperation and help in solving the Mostar crisis, and
not blocking a solution to the administrative status of Zagreb. Tudjman
commented that the EU states seem to be dissatisfied with the leading
role the U.S. has played in Bosnia and with the fact that the U.S. has
taken Croatia' s side. -- Daria Sito Sucic

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL WANTS TO EXTEND UNPREDEP MANDATE. Boutros Boutros
Ghali on 24 March recommended that the mandate of UNPREDEP be extended
by six months, Reuters and AFP reported. In a report to the UN Security
Council, he said UNPREDEP should remain in Macedonia until 30 November
at its current strength of 1,050 troops, 35 military observers, and 168
civilian police. According to Boutros Ghali, there are fewer threats to
Macedonia now than when UNPREDEP was deployed in 1992. But he added that
"it is too soon to be confident that stability has been established in
the region." -- Stefan Krause

TRADE UNION PROTEST IN BUCHAREST. More than 5,000 employees marched
through downtown Bucharest on 24 May to protest falling living standards
and low pay, Romanian and Western media reported. At the government's
headquarters, the demonstrators handed over a memorandum accusing the
cabinet of blocking economic reforms and of being unable to solve
serious economic and social problems. The memorandum also claimed that
ministers were protecting the vested interests of those in power. The
protest was organized by the Alfa Cartel, one of Romania's main labor
organizations. Alfa is demanding a minimum monthly wage of 140,000 lei
($34), better pay for overtime, and increases in child allowance,
pensions, and stipends. Alfa leader Bogdan Hossu described the situation
of many trade union members as "desperate." -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN TEACHERS STAGE STRIKE. Teachers in 32 Moldovan districts on 24
May suspended classes to protest wage arrears, BASA-press reported the
same day. Petru Chiriac, chairman of the education trade unions, told
journalists that since the begining of the year, teachers have been
fully paid for January only. He added that the state owes them millions
of lei for the following months. The state's inability to pay wages and
pensions has caused widespread protests. Earlier this month, Premier
Andrei Sangheli promised education union leaders that the cabinet will
solve the problem, but no concrete steps have been taken so far. -- Dan
Ionescu

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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